Question: I have been chanting Guanyin Bodhisattva’s name with this long format – ‘南无大慈大悲救苦救难广大灵感观世音菩萨摩诃萨‘ (Namo Daci Dabei Jiuku Jiunan Guangda Linggan Guanshiyin Pusa Mohesa: Homage to and refuge for life in the one with great loving-kindness and great compassion, who saves from suffering and saves from difficulties, the great efficacious Bodhisattva-Mahasattva who perceives the sounds of the world). I was told that this is her actual name. Is this so? And must her name be chanted this way?
Answer: Although the above is in a chanting text as an honourific praise to express reverence, it is not that this long version is the Bodhisattva’s actual name, as it simply adds the essence of her qualities (大慈大悲 and 广大灵感) and vows (救苦救难) to her name to remind us of them. Her actual name is Guanshiyin (观世音), while Pusa Mohesa (菩萨摩诃萨) is her enlightened status as a great Bodhisattva.
It is alright to chant the above format, though it might become unwieldy, especially in danger and when dying. The longer the chant, the harder it is to focus sincerely too. There are various other shorter version too. However, simply ‘南无观世音菩萨’ (Namo Guanshiyin Pusa: Homage to and refuge for life in the Bodhisattva who perceives the sounds of the world) will do as the most basic version. You might be interested in this course to learn more about this great Bodhisattva too: http://thedailyenlightenment.com/?s=The+Universal+Door+Of+Guanyin+Bodhisattva+Run